It was a big night for the Grizzlies men’s and women’s basketball teams as they played their final regular season home games against the George Brown Huskies on Tuesday night.
The men’s team was desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Standing in their way was the second place team in the east division, the Huskies, and recently crowned OCAA all-time leading scorer Vadim Halimov.
Georgian used that desperation and a loud home crowd to their advantage as they came up with arguably their best game of the season.
Both teams battled back and forth all night in a game that featured 19 different lead changes and neither team being able to pull away from the other.
The teams headed to overtime after finishing regulation tied 85-85, with George Brown getting a basket with just over a second left on the clock.
Nothing changed in overtime as each team matched the other. With the game still tied 94-94 and one minute left in overtime, Georgian’s Justin Mitchell (Newmarket) and Teq Zwarych (Whitby) each earned their way to the line on George Brown fouls.
The Grizzlies’ two leading scorers this season came through for their team when they needed it most, leading to a 99-94 Georgian victory.
Mitchell, who was playing in his final regular season game for the Grizzlies, led the team with 26 points, while Zwarych had 25 and Ivan Ivic (Croatia) had 21. Dylan McKenzie (Bracebridge) who was also playing as a senior in his final game, played a solid defensive game for the Grizzlies while adding two points and four rebounds.
George Brown’s Vadim Halimov added to his record by posting 38 points in the loss.
The win keeps the Grizzlies playoff hopes alive as they currently sit in a five-way tie in the east division standings from third to seventh place. The Durham Lords could join the tie breaker scenario with a win in their final game Wednesday night when they face the Fleming Knights. Until that game is decided, the playoff picture remains unclear as the top six teams in the division will make the playoffs.
While the women’s team didn’t have much to play for in the standings, the team came together with a big effort for the three seniors who were playing their final games with the Grizzlies.
After a bit of a slow start, the Grizzlies found their scoring touch including hitting an incredible 67 per cent of their field goals in the second half, which led to a 64-59 victory.
Playing in the final game of her OCAA career, former All Canadian Summer Bly (Barrie) had a big game, scoring 20 points and 15 rebounds. The 20 points were significant as she surpassed former Algonquin/Loyalist student athlete Sara Maybee for fifth place on the OCAA’s all-time scoring list with 950 points in her career, while also surpassing her own record as Georgian’s all-time leading scorer.
Bly also finishes the season first in the OCAA in rebounds, blocks and is in the top 10 in scoring this year.
Also playing in her final game was veteran Danielle Horvat (Barrie), who scored eight points in her final game. Mikaela Weir (Minesing) was unable to play due to illness.